Saskatchewan emerges as the sole dissenter in acknowledging the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a statutory holiday, a stance contrasting other provinces and territories across the country. An annual day of recognition, September 30th has been awarded the status of a paid day off for federally regulated workers such as government staff, bank and postal employees since 2021. Territories alongside British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick have embraced Truth and Reconciliation Day, not merely as a token day of recognition, but as a full-fledged holiday.
Notwithstanding, it appears elusive whether Saskatchewan would align with its counterparts. An attempt to seek commentary from the executive council proved futile, with no ensuing response.
The year 2022 saw the Progressive Conservatives, the ruling party in Manitoba, declare their intent to designate September 30th as a paid holiday. However, an official proposal put forth by the opposition New Democratic Party was subverted.
Subsequently, in the following year, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson confirmed that the province would persist in its non-participation.
Conversely, Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief, Mark Arcand, acknowledges the value of the day as it presents Canadians an avenue to contemplate the dark history and harsh realities of residential schools. “Our people lived it, they suffered through it; they believed it, even when others didn’t,” he confided.
Arcand, recounting a dialogue with his young son, underscored the importance of awareness. His son, a learner at Whitecap School, expressed his desire to gain more knowledge about residential schools, indicating the significance of teaching such history in schools.
A recent Leger poll revealed that whereas a large number of Canadians communicated no intention to partake in any Truth and Reconciliation Day activities, almost half, 48%, showed no inclination to remember the day. Understandably, some wounds are slow to heal, and the shadow of a grim history might prove too oppressive for some. Nonetheless, the day exists as a symbol of hope and growth, emphasizing the importance of acknowledging past misgivings while striving for change, and ultimately, reconciliation.